Thou Shalt Not Frack Thy Neighbor’s Land

It’s only been in the last couple of years that Californians began hearing about fracking, and few of us thought that it was even happening in our state. Fracking – shorthand for hydraulic fracturing – is a method that is used to extract natural gas and oil deeply trapped below shale deposits. A process that has been in use for decades, fracking requires vast amounts of water laden with a concoction of chemicals to be pumped under high pressure to blast through shale and push up trapped gas.

Well, it turns out that California has been getting fracked for years in areas including Los Angeles, Ventura, Monterey, Santa Barbara, and Kern Counties. What’s even more shocking is that current law allows the fracking industry to operate largely unregulated in the state. This is despite the fact that all around the country numerous public health and environmental problems are bubbling up around fracking sites. One of the biggest problems linked to fracking is the contamination of groundwater. In fact some water contains such high levels of gases or chemicals that it can be lit on fire!

Last year CLCV began advocating in support of a bill to require disclosure of fracking locations, amounts of water used in fracking operations, and a list chemicals used in the process. While the bill’s author negotiates amendments with industry, the environmental community is looking to another fracking bill introduced this year by environmental champion Fran Pavley to help get at least some sort of protections in place.

Senate Bill 1054 (Pavley) would require oil and gas well operators to provide advance notice to the nearby property owners and occupants, water suppliers, and local government before they frack. This isn’t revolutionary. It’s being a good neighbor. And it is the practice that is already required from any significant development project – fracking just somehow had slipped through the cracks.

Since wells may extend for literally miles in a horizontal direction from the vertical well-head, it’s only fair that neighboring residents and owners be given advance notice that a well is to be drilled or fracked.

TAKE ACTION: Ask your State Senator to support SB 1054 today!

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